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Whisky Schiff Luzern, 29 February-02 Mar 2024


For the photo gallery, click here

The Alps were nicely snow covered, when the first whisky event from Switzerland, the Whisky Schiff Luzern started, a few earlier than the previous editions.

The 3 ships where the event took place

The first stand that I saw was Acla Selection, who had several new bottlings from the last Whisky & Music Zürich festival. The Ardlair 11 YO from A.D. Rattray for The Whisky Agency (TWA) was a nice mellow, slightly spicy whisky, with some vanilla and herbs, while the 13 YO AD Rattrray for  TWA was rather spicy, oaky, floral, on vanilla and oak spices. The Linkwood 10 YO TWA & Tokyo 3Rivers was sharp, crisp, malty, floral, on vanilla, some oak spices, freshly cut grass and a touch of yellow fruits. Nice and pleasant. The Royal Brackla  12 YO TWA Special Edition 01 was moderately spicy, slightly green and floral, on oak spices, candied citrus, vanilla, with some herbal and grassy flavours. The Secret Orkney 15 YO Acla Selection was a round single malt distilled at Highland Park, slightly juicy, oaky, and floral, with some honey, vanilla and a light sweetness.

some of the new bottlings at Acla Selection

it was then time to move to World of Whisky and to taste the new releases, starting with a nice sweet, juicy Orkney 17 YO from Signatory, on juicy orange, heather, a touch of smoke and a nice rich body. Very good. The Glenfarclas OB Nico’s Choice was a smooth, slightly spicy and rich single malt on sultanas, dried fruits, Christmas cake and cinnamon. Rather light, but well balanced and very enjoyable. The Glenlossie 2009 Cooper’s Choice for World of Whisky was smooth, clean, rather fruity, on pears, vanilla, light creamy flavours and some yellow fruits. Fresh and vibrant. I tasted also an older bottler for Waldhaus am See, the 2000 Caperdonich 21 YO, a complex, spicy, rather thick and juicy whisky, with lots of dried fruits, some spices and light smoky and mineral flavours. Very nice. The Ardbeg 13 YO Anthology was peaty, maritime, slightly mellow, on spices, seaweeds, some tar and medicinal flavours. The Laphroaig Cairdeas Cask Strength Pedo Ximenez Casks was a thick, chewy, intense, slightly meaty and rubbery expression of the distillery, with a strong and syrupy influence from the rich PX casks. Not for the faint hearted. At the joint Whisky Bibliothek / World of Whisky Stand, I could also taste the “Glacier Single Malt”, a single malt distilled in the Swiss Valais and matured in Swiss Glaciers in the Graubünden. The whisky is nice, smooth, easy drinking, on nice juicy malty flavours and light sweet winey flavours. Pretty good. The distillery should do some efforts on the packaging, as the label is very simplistic and not even the name of the distillery is mentioned. The Macallan The Harmony Collection Amber meadow was a smooth, mellow whisky, rather juicy and round, with some spices, dried fruits, sultanas and orange. Rather easy drinking and simple.

Several of the new expressions at World of Whisky

At Charles Hofer SA, I tried my first New Zealand Single malts from the Pokeno distillery. The origin is the core product, matured in ex-bourbon casks. It was rather bold, malty, round, slightly spicy, on round vanilla flavours as well as on slightly green orchards fruits. The Triple Distilled 03 is the third batch of triple distilled Pokeno. Distilled two times, the distillate is then redistilled a third time and only 20% of the third run is selected and filled into casks. The Triple-distilled was slightly more complex than the origin, more on pears and slightly bolder as well. A nice one and rather mature for its age (circa 4 years).

the Pokeno single malts from NZ

At The Whisky Cask Company (TWCC), I tasted the new Auchindoran 14 YO, which is a sherry matured Aultmore. An excellent floral, round, and fruity single malt, with a combination of freshly pressed oranges, cinnamon, some heather honey, sultanas and light round floral flavours. Very enjoyable. I tasted then two single casks of Bushmills 2002, the 21 YO Cedar Tree matured in ex-demerara casks, with a slightly dry and astringent rum flavour on the nose, giving a slightly austere nose, before delivery a sugary and sweet mouthfeel, balanced, with some Cavaillon (sugar) melon flavours, nice malty and slightly green flavours, a touch of spices and vanilla. Not the most typical rum—maturred Irish whiskey, but this combination worked very well for me. The combination is rather impressive and is definitely worth being tasted. The 21 Pine Tree is a Bushmills matured in sherry casks, thus heavier, more fruity, slightly chewy than the Cedar tree, with some red berries, orange, leather and sultanas. Very good.

the new Irish single malts from TWCC

At Whiskyshop Neumarkt, I noticed several new expressions of Old Malt Cask, but since Reto was not there, I decided to postpone my visit to later.

At Fassstar.ch, Fabrice, the man behind A Few Barrels Company was there, so I took the opportunity of chatting with him, while tasting the sweet, rather bold and slightly waxy and spicy  11 Glen Garioch, with lovely sweet fruity flavours coming from the Oloroso casks. Very good. The Auchentoshan 25 YO was delicious, complex, rich, intense, slightly grassy, with nice round vanilla flavours and round yellow fruits. Although triple distilled, Auchentoshan is not such a light spirit and works well with a long maturation, as shown here. The Strathearn 8 YO Cask 091 is a very dark sherry whisky, that the whisky freaks will love. It was very thick, chewy, spicy, with loads of dried fruits, on treacle, cinnamon, orange, sultanas, old leather and lots of dried meat (Grisons). A very nice although original Strathearn.  Finally, the 12 YO Octomore was a very farmy whisky, nicely peaty, slightly mineral, elegant, complex, with a lingering smoky and farmy peat smoke, slightly medicinal and maritime. An excellent Octomore, maybe not as explosive as you might expect from a single malt with records high PPM of phenols, but very elegant, balanced and complex that one enjoy keeping in the mouth for a long time. The most balanced and complex Octomore that I have ever tasted.

Some of the new bottlings from A Few Barrels Company

At another stand, I tasted a delicious 1990 Caol Ila for the Feis Ile 2019, very complex, smoky, moderately peaty, maritime, with some spearmint and lingering smoky and maritime peat smoke.
At the stand of Lau, I tasted 4 manager’s dram, starting with a very good Glen Spey 12 YO, round, slightly malty, rather fruity, bold and creamy, with subtle spices and dried fruits. The Dalwhinnie 12 YO was fresh, rather intense, slightly oaky, with light honey flavours, oak spices and a touch of vanilla custard. A bit rougher that the standard bottlings. The Dufftown 14 YO was rathe complex, round, slightly yeasty, with some hops, a touch of smoke, hay, vanilla and light creamy flavours. Pretty good. The Royal Lochnagar 10 YO was very round, floral, malty, slightly spicy, with soft and juicy fruity flavours, some berries, sultanas and soft leather. An elegant sherry. Very nice.  I also tasted there the 27 YO Brora from Wilson & Morgan, a moderately peated Brora, very farmy, slightly dirty, on orange, some candied citrus and leather. Very good, and rather different from the early 1970s or 1977s single malts I tasted from that distillery. My personal worst whisky from the evening was the 1966 Longmorn 35 YO Private Collection from Gordon MacPhail, which is more a wood infusion than a whisky. Extremely bitter and tannic, with a strong woody astringence. Enough said. Had to drink a few glasses of water before being able to taste any other whisky.

A terribly tannic and astringent Longmorn

At another stand, I tasted the Octomore 10 YO Old Particular, a good Octomore, very peaty, smoky, rather maritime and oaky.  Good, but far from being as complex or subtle as the FEW barrels one.


At Lateltin, the Springbank 10 YO Palo Cortado and the new 13 YO Local Barley were already sold out, but still available for tasting. The Local Barley was very good, rich, spicy, thick, slightly salty and smoky, with a touch of peat, some coconuts and orange, vanilla, as well as light farmy flavours, with a very enjoyable mouthfeel.

It was time to taste again some swiss whiskies, including my oldest Johnett, a 10 YO Merlot Cask, a nice fresh and juicy whisky, on grapes, sultanas, some cinnamon, red berries and pear. Balanced and enjoyable to drink. Good stuff. Macardo is a Swiss Premium Whisky distilled in Thurgau and I tried their single malt. This whisky was slightly rough and coarse, rather gristy, on vanilla, with soft clean and young malty flavours and vanilla. Rather unbalanced, like if the whisky was combination from malt distilled in a pot sill and Holstein column. Atpyical and thus difficult to compare.

I moved then to Awico and tasted the new releases from The Whisky Chamber, bottled by Thomas Ide. The Inchgower 4 Rioja barrique was a rich whisky, intense, slightly salty, with rich and juicy winey flavours, red berries, soft spices and a nice mouthfeel. The Spanish wine cask gave a very juicy side to this whisky, without being too winey. A good one. The Glen Ord 2012 Oloroso was rich, meaty, rather thick, fruity, some hops, sultanas, orange, Christmas cake, a touch of smoke and gingerbread spices. Very good. The Balmenach 2013 Port Barrique was nicely floral, rich, moderately spicy, slightly sweet and sugary, on dark berries, grapes, some light winey flavours and a touch of aromatic herbs. Thick and rather intense.

A very nice Inchgower mature in ex-rioja casks at Awico by The Whisky Chamber

With my stock of samples running very low, I stopped at the Whisky Schiff Luzern stand to taste the special bottlings for the show, starting with a round, smooth Craigellachie 13 YO Old Particular, on honey and light vanilla flavours,  a classic of Islay, which was a peaty, maritime, smoky and rather rich Caol Ila, slightly young, with round sherry flavours, leather and dried fruits. The Staoisha was very peaty, rich, smoky, slightly meaty, on dried fruits, orange, leather, and light maritime and medicinal flavours.

Dramcatcher is very active and they presented 3 new releases, with a very good 12 YO Glen Garioch, rather mellow and balanced, slightly smoky, dirty, with some candied ginger, wax, light aromatic flavours and hint of smoke. Very good. The Secret Orkney 17 YO was rather clean, intense, with some seabrine, vanilla, a touch of smoke, heather smoke and marmalade. The last one was a 14 YO Kildalton, a peated Ardbeg, maritime, medicinal, with some menthol, seaweeds, a nice maritime peat smoke and a touch of chalk. A very good Ardbeg.

The new expressions at DramCatcher

My final stop and last sample was filled at House of Single Malts / C. Dully, to taste their new Islay Single Malt 1991, which is a 32 YO Laphroaig. The whisky was deliciously complex, elegant, with a fair amount of peat smoke, iodine, medicinal flavours, sea brine and a touch of spices. The finish is very long and lingering. Simply excellent. A whisky that you can keep enjoying for a long time.

The new Laphroaig 32 YO from C. Dully at House of Single Malts

With no samples left and 10 minutes left before the closure of the event, it was time to take my train home and to recover from that long and intense busy day.

The number of whiskies presented was very high, with a nice combination of new and old whiskies, from a large range of distilleries, original bottlings or from independent bottlers, there are whiskies to fit all types of tastes and budgets.

The event was well organized, and except between 19.00 and 20.30 when it was rather difficult to move between the stands, the wait was short and it was easy to move between the ships and decks.


See you next year!